Sweet Understanding

Chapter 6: Not as it Seems

"So.. you're telling me that Magneto adopted Loki?"

Iron man stared at the distraught Thunder god trying to piece it together.

"Aye! Tis a strange thing!" Thor agreed. "Yet he looked so…so happy! Perhaps t'would be wrong for me to bring him back to Asgard."

"I don't know… Magneto, Quicksilver, and Loki? It sounds like they're definitely up to something." Reptil piped up from behind, a pout on his features.

All the Squaddies put in their opinions, but only Scarlet Witch remained silent behind them.

Thor glanced over at her.

"What dost thou think?" he asked, locking uneasy eyes with her.

Visibly, she hesitated.

"Well, if you're worried about Loki's safety, there's no reason for it. Dad would never hurt him." She answered. "Neither would my brother."

Thor looked a bit relieved.

"But as for a plan… I have no idea. I mean, we did go fishing every so often. It just seems like Dad got attached to him, that's all." She answered, going over and putting a hand on his shoulder.

The Asgardian reached up and grabbed her hand.

"Thank-you."

She smiled for a moment, though her eyes remained unsure.

"I don't think we should completely ignore it. Things have been a little too quiet." Wolverine muttered. "Maybe we should send out a scouting team or something."

Reptil was the first to raise his hand, waving it around with unbridled enthusiasm.

Thor glanced around, but shook his head.

"Nay, nay. Perhaps mine brother isn't up to anything this time. That is why he left in the first place." He replied, straightening himself.

His teammates watched him with concerned eyes.

"You gonna be okay, big guy?" Iron Man asked, matching the worried expression of everyone else in the room. It wasn't every day that genius, playboy, philanthropist, Tony Stark was caught without something to say, but he couldn't help it. It was odd seeing the big, St. Bernard of a demi-god being so upset. Something about it just seemed wrong.

"Aye. I'll be in Asgard for the moment. Mother needeth me and we need to think of how to bring Loki home." He answered simply. "But this isn't goodbye, mine friends! Tis only temporary!"

Before he could reach for his hammer, Thor felt strong arms wrapping around him tightly.

"Big Hammer come back soon!" the Hulk wailed, crushing Thor against his chest. "And bring little goat boy as well!"

If Thor could breathe, he would've given at least a half-hearted assurance, but he just gasped for breath and treasured the comfort of his hulking friend.

"Okay Hulk, you can let him go now." Iron Man said, watching the Thunderer slowly stop struggling.

The Green Man glanced between them and released Thor instantly.

"Just be back soon, okay?" Scarlet Witch answered.

Thor gave a nod and swinging his hammer over his head, he headed back towards the Bifröst… and back home.

The other Squaddies exchanged glances.

"So… are we sending out the search team?" Wolverine asked, raising an ever-skeptical eyebrow.

Murmurs of agreement were heard all around.

"Good. Because I don't trust those guys as far as I can throw 'em… and that's pretty far." Logan answered gruffly.

"Yep! My scanners are already picking them up!" H.E.R.B.I.E answered from a nearby console.

"Good. We'll need… well, I don't know what factors you'd need for family problems… usually my CEO just suggests an extremely overpriced therapist." Iron Man replied. "But let's just take everyone, and we'll see what we can find."

Readying themselves, they all left the Helicarrier and spread out around the city.

~O~O~O~O~O~

As Thor returned to Asgard, he found it oddly quiet.

Everyone went about their daily business, including the husky God of Poultry Farming.

Thor waved and headed to his Father's throne room. The whole trip there was quiet. No sign of the excitement cooked up by the little God of Mischief. Thor merely sighed.

He was really starting to miss the constant, on-edge feeling his presence generated. Every second, the other Asgardians were wondering what the little menace was coming up with. What was going to catch fire next? Who's livestock was going to end up in the lake this time? Who was the next person to wake up with a magically-created, inverse Mohawk?

There was none of that.

Through his slight loneliness, his Father's throne room came into view. He smiled a bit, passing through the gilded doors.

"Um, Father, can I have a word with thee?" he asked.

Odin looked up and a wide grin instantly rose to his features.

"What is it, my son?" he asked, leaning forward. "Hast thou found Loki yet?"

For a moment, the inquiry threw Thor for a loop. His Father very rarely asked about the Trickster… well, unless he was in trouble… or the dwarves were after him… or the dark elves were after him… or the frost giants… or Sif's horse.

Putting his brother's track record aside, he looked at the mighty All-father.

"Yes, I found him." Thor answered.

Odin looked around the room, but saw no sign of the younger.

"If you've found him, then where is he?"

Thor wilted a bit.

"W-well, he's actually on Midgard." He answered.

Odin froze.

"He's trying to invade there too?!" the All-Father yelped. "I knew it…"

Thor stepped forward.

"N-no, Father! He… was picked up by another family." He replied.

Odin raised an eyebrow.

"What are you telling me, oh son of mine?" he asked. "Hast Loki been kidnapped?"

Thor shook his head again.

"No… not that either. He was adopted by another family!" he answered, reluctant as he was to admit it.

The All-Father looked at him plainly, settling back in his throne.

"Yes, Thor. Loki is adopted." He answered, "He is Laufey's son after all."

Thor shook his head, more firmly this time.

"That's not what I mean, Father!" Thor protested. "I know that Loki is adopted! I mean he was…re-adopted!"

Odin quieted, merely staring at his first-born in shock.

"He claims to be a part of another family." Thor continued. "That we don't love or care about him… and, I've been thinking… perhaps he is right. I feel that we are a bit too hard on him."

The All-Father smiled, pleased with his son's wisdom,.

"I do believe you're right, my son." Odin replied, watching Thor shift between feet. "We've always been too hard on Loki, despite his wrongdoings, but I believe that forcing Loki to come home isn't the way to go. He must see for himself that Asgard is where he belongs."

Thor stepped forward in protest.

"He might not come home then! I believe that we needeth action to bring mine brother to his senses!"

The All-Father sighed.

"There's not much I can do, but you know I cannot leave Asgard. Bring your brother home, Thor. Assure him that his Father misses him."

The younger god gave a smile.

"Do not fear, Father. Loki will return to us. I'll make sure of that!"

Odin returned the smile, watching Thor turn on his heel and leave the throne room. On the way out, Frigga, who was making her way in, spotted him.

"Do not worry, Mother." Thor assured, before she could even speak. Her features already spoke of her clear worry for Loki.

She nodded.

"I know you'll bring my son home." She agreed tenderly. "It just saddens me that he'd leave in the first place."

Thor sighed, his shoulders wilting a bit.

"Aye, but Loki has always been… different. Nevertheless, he is of Asgard and is mine brother. He will return." He replied sincerely.

Frigga looked upon him, wiping his eyes.

"Just bring him home."

Thor smiled.

"I was going to return to Midgard right away." He answered, but Frigga reached out to him.

"Tomorrow, my son. Get sleep and I'll have the servants prepare you some dinner." She interrupted.

"B-but Loki-"

"Loki will be fine. If he is with a family, I'm sure he won't be hurt." She reasoned.

Thor silently remembered what Scarlet Witch had told him, and he caved.

"Fine. Tomorrow I return to Midgard in order to retrieve Loki." He answered, receiving a gentle smile from his mother.

He'd make sure to get Loki back. Family was family after all.

~O~O~O~O~O~

As Thor sat in his room, dinner finished, left to his thoughts, he glanced over at Mjölnir. The hammer sat next to him, unmoving, yet he still remembered the skewed eyed face he drew on her back during his adventures with friend Beta Ray Bill.

"What dost thou think, Mjölnir?" he asked, "I wish there was something else I could do in order to apologize to mine brother."

The hammer stared back at him silently, but even that was enough for the lonely demi-god.

"A note of apology? But Mjölnir, thou knows I'm no good with words!" Thor protested, but he could feel the hammer respond.

"Well, you're going to help me put it together." He finally answered, pulling out a piece of parchment.

Looking to his best friend, he began writing.

"Dear Loki,

I'm writing this letter because Mjölnir told me that it'd be a good idea. I just want to say that I'm sorry and… yeah. I want you to come back to Asgard, as do Mother and Father. Just come back home. Things aren't the same without you."

He read it over with a sniffle.

"Oh, Mjölnir, thou hast such a way with words!" he murmured with a smile, but he looked down at the mess of space beneath the letter with a frown.

"I feel like we should add something to it." He muttered, glancing over at the hammer once again.

As would be expected, there was only silence from Mjölnir, but Thor nodded with understanding at their unspoken communication.

In an instant, he lit up with excitement.

"Tis a brilliant idea, Mjölnir!" he chirped.

As he was told, the Thunderer went to draw a bunny at the remaining bottom of the page.

Granted, the drawing was a bit lopsided, with eyes that were too big, and disproportionate legs, but despite its wonky features, Thor beamed at it with pride.

He'll love it!

He then proceeded to seal the letter in an envelope.

"Okay, Mjölnir. I'm leaving you in charge of mailing mine brother's letter." He replied, grabbing his hammer by the leather-bound handle.

Satisfied with the answer, he tucked the letter into his pocket and, as he laid Mjölnir next to him on the nightstand, he climbed into bed, falling asleep.

"Good night, Mjölnir."

~O~O~O~O~O~

The next morning stared like a completely normal day for Loki… well, at least normal for the past week or two.

He woke to see Fenrir at the foot of his bed, tail wagging.

The Trickster smiled, but something felt off.

Getting dressed, he took a glance out the window, and on the windowsill, sat a small snake.

Loki broke into a grin, watching the small orange creature with the flickering tongue.

He always seemed to relate with them; their sneaky nature and the way they were always thinking.

Little villains, all of them.

As he went out of the room to the kitchen, there was no one in sight.

"Where is everyone, Father?" Fenrir asked, glancing over t him.

For once, the Trickster found himself puzzled.

"Magneto? Pietro?" he called, suddenly fearing for their safety.

Instead of being answered by their voices, the trumpeting of an elephant rang out in front of their home.

Loki frowned, making his way out of the front door to see a large, grey pachyderm grazing on their front lawn.

He felt his face pale as, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Fenny running towards it, jaws agape. The Trickster quickly went to grab him before the wolf pup had a chance to latch onto the creature's swinging tail.

"No! We have to find them! Where did these animals come from?" he wondered.

But before he could go anywhere, a familiar voice rang out.

"Do you like it?"

Loki's concern dissolved into a grin as Magneto and Pietro returned.

"What is it?" he asked, growing excited.

He wasn't sure what kind of mischief this was, but if his mentor was involved, he definitely wanted to be a part of it.

"We've released the animals from the zoo! But Loki, I need your help." Magneto answered.

The younger villain broke into the widest of grins as he looked up at Magneto. Finally, they were putting the skills he was learning to work!

"What do you need me to do?" he asked, with all the eagerness he held. "Just tell me what you need, and consider it done!"

The older villain broke into a grin.

"Good… because there's only one more lesson I need to teach you." he answered. "But go… go into the city and try twisting all the trees a bit. I feel like toying around with nature for a bit. Watching those Squaddies run themselves ragged at the very idea!"

Loki laughed.

"And what a perfect way to relax! I couldn't agree more!" he exclaimed happily.

"Good boy! Now go! Get to it!"

The Mutant watched as the boy flew off.

When the young Asgardian was out of sight, Pietro turned to his Father, a worried look on his face.

"Are you sure this is okay?" he asked. "I mean, does Loki know?"

"Of course not!" Magneto snapped sharply. "It would never work if he was aware of it!"

Pietro's frown deepened.

"Father, I think this is a bad idea." He pointed out, but the villain waved him off.

"He's strong enough to handle it." He replied. "All these lessons aren't for nothing. He's a good pupil, Pietro; A true natural. Remember that. It's what's best for him."

Pietro sighed, unsure of what he was being told, but he trusted his father enough to believe him.

"Okay. I understand." Was all he could say.

~O~O~O~O~O~

((A/N: Sorry I haven't updated in so long! I've been busy with school stuffs, but I hope you enjoy it! ^^; ))